Linenger's Letters to his Son

February 8, 1997
Tougher then sitting in a rocket waiting for launch"

Dear John:

Wonder if you could pass this to Mommy. Tell her to read it to you for your bedtime story. Sorry, no pictures of bears, no flaps to turn, no slide-outs. But Mommy's voice and closeness are what really counts in bedtime stories anyway, right?

Kathryn, I love you. Feel that as strongly as ever. Very alone out here in space. When it gets quiet, I think of you for comfort. Sometimes, alone, I start laughing aloud thinking about something we've done together or some phrase of yours. You are with me.

Like our wedding. Chicago. Me standing in a room behind the altar with the altar girls. Dress white uniform. Other Navy officers with swords escorting the guests to their places. Waiting. The altar girls: "This is sooo cool!". "Wow, swords!" "Oh, she's beautiful!" Ten minutes past scheduled start time. I'm really getting nervous. The altar girls: "Did you meet on a ship?" Twenty minutes late. "What are those ribbons for?" Thirty. "This is so cool!" Me, really getting a sweat up. Getting more worried.

Best man returns. No problem with the bride, only lost in Chicago bridesmaids. Some relief, but still sweaty palms. Tougher, by far, then sitting in a rocket waiting for launch.

The priest rescues me from the curious altar girls. Me, front and center. Ah, there you are. Gorgeous. White dress. Me standing there waiting. Deep breath, try to relax. Your Dad, a kiss good-bye. Your hand. Comfort. I feel better together.

And I still do to this very day, Kathryn.

John, if this didn't work--try green eggs and ham. And don't worry if you don't understand all this. You'll learn someday. Goodnight to you both. Love you both very, very much.



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